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Filed under: Mage

Class Balance Q&A: Mage


Kurojushi asked:

Is the Frost Mage ever going to be competitive in PVE? (I know it is within about 10% but it's still the lowest DPS spec in the game at the moment)

Ghostcrawler answered:

Part of why we are changing talents in 5.0 is to let every spec have a shot at getting good utility. This means we can abandon the current (and tired) model where some specs (Frost, Subtlety especially) have to trade off dps because they have good control / survivability / escape. The biggest difference between Frost, Fire and Arcane in 5.0 will be which spells (including procs and other mechanics) you use to do damage.

Lylandra asked:

Hey there, since the arcane mage playstyle is a bit simplicistic nowadays (one button spam in burn phase and two button use in conserve phae) can we hope to see other, more engaging ways of spell interaction? Would it, for example, be possible to get a resource system out of arcane blast stacks or can we get more spells into our rotation?

Celestalon answered:

Arcane Mages' rotation (or lack-there-of, depending upon your point of view) is something we have plans for in 5.0. We still want mana management to be a major part of their gameplay, but we want to mix up their rotation a bit beyond that. Additionally, their rotation being entirely immobile is debilitating for them at times. We're currently planning to include Arcane Barrage in their PvE rotation, so that they at least have an instant GCD that allows them to move small distances without losing DPS. Arcane Missiles while moving is something that we've considered several times, but currently aren't planning to use (that may change though).

Avantha asked:

You mentioned at Blizzcon that all mages will be getting Living Bomb. How will this along with talented Scorch be balanced so that it is not too powerful for fire and too underpowered for other specs? Because certain spells like Arcane Blast and Frostbolt will be only available to their respective spec, does this mean the specialization bonuses such as your fire spells do X% increased damage are being removed and the extra damage worked into the spell itself, so that cross spec spells such as Living Bomb do the same amount of damage no matter which spec you are in?

Ghostcrawler answered:

Mages don't really need their +fire, +frost or +arcane specializations in 5.0 because only Fire mages will have Fireball. So Fire mages won't do more damage with LB or Scorch. They will still feel like Fire mages though because of Fireball, Ignite, Combustion and Hot Streak.

Guest asked:

Why did you pick Blast Wave, Dragon's Breath, and Slow as the level 90 mage talents? Most every other class has gotten new skills at 90. Why put spells we mages get a lower levels at 90?

Xelnath answered:

You know, that's an excellent point - we've heard from several people that Mages could use a few more new talents. We'll take a look.

Hoffs asked:

I love ring of frost AND Cone of Cold, why will i have to choose ?

Ghostcrawler answered:

We think choosing between two powerful things is a lot more fun and interesting than choosing between a no-brainer and pile of poo. In this case specifically, we thought that mages and Frost in general have too many CC abilities and we didn't want to keep adding more and more with every expansion. But if you have to choose which CC you want, then it gives us the design space to keep adding potentially interesting alternatives.






Filed under: Mage

Arcane Brilliance: Adventures with and observations on the Raid Finder

raiders
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we spend some time sniffing around the PTR. Which is difficult, because all I can smell right now is burnt warlock. How do you guys get that out of your robes? Maybe some Febreze.

I have to admit: Nothing in patch 4.3 excites me as much as the Raid Finder. Not transmogrification, not the Deathwing raid, not the fact that we're drawing ever closer to me being able to roll a Pandaren kung fu mage. Nope, I'm excited about the Raid Finder.

There was a time during my WoW career when I was able to adjust my schedule around my guild's raid nights, but that time hasn't really existed for some time now. My family has grown, my work responsibilities have grown, and my WoW time has become increasingly limited and far more unreliable. I play when I can play these days, and it's nigh impossible to plan a raid schedule around that. I'd wager I'm not alone in this.

So the idea of being able to see much of the same endgame content and gear up enough to help my guild on my own schedule much the same way I gear up through 5-mans now ... that just thrills me to death.

But putting together a 25-man raid is an exponentially more complex endeavor than simply throwing together a 5-man run. How does this Raid Finder tool function in practice? Well, I've taken my mage to the PTR, and I've tested it out for myself. And I'm here to tell you:

It totally works. And it totally doesn't.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: A preliminary look at the Pandaria talent tree for mages

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we engage in wild, baseless speculation and make hasty, groundless assumptions based on that wild, baseless speculation. So ... just like every week.

A quick recap for those of you who have limited internet access and choose (understandably) to use each of your precious online moments reading this column each week, but otherwise ignore the internet completely:

Blizzard announced a new expansion for World of Warcraft. It has pandas. The WoW online community appears to be simultaneously overjoyed, mildly excited, meh, and borderline suicidal. Monks are the new class, and they will be able to tank while drunk, which makes them pretty much identical to every other tank I know. Most importantly, though, the design team plans to throw our current talent system into a virtual wood chipper, pick up the pieces that come out of the other side, and mash them together into a completely new, singular talent tree for each class.

The three distinct mage trees will survive, but the majority of the school-specific talents and spells we have now are slated to become baseline abilities that we'll gain as we level (automatically -- no more going to a mage trainer). Ability customization once Mists of Pandaria hits will exist as six talent choices available regardless of spec, one choice between three talents every 15 experience levels. Talent specs as we have known them since the game began in 2004 will cease to exist once patch 5.0 hits, and I expect that to occur in less than a year.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance, Mists of Pandaria

Arcane Brilliance: Why the one true spec assumption is a lie

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. Now, before we get started, I want you all to look at that picture and realize that at one point in my life, that kid was rad. He was cool. I was never that cool, but you better believe I wanted to be that cool. I wanted to have a sweet mullet and wear acid-washed jeans and a pink shirt and give a thumbs-up while I played Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers one-handed in my Nintendo/baseball/helicopter lair. Just remember that. This kid was the absolute best, and everybody knew it.

I don't know how to tell you this, but we are all wrong.

All of us.

Oh, we mages are right about some things: Most everything can be improved by turning it into a sheep, If you're going marshal arcane energy and bend the fabric of space time to conjure food from thin air, you might as well be conjuring cake and strudel, and yes, it is still and always will be true that the only good warlock is the one that has been reduced to unrecognizable chunks of scorched viscera. But about a few very important details, we are most definitely all mistaken. Here are a few things we all seem to accept as true:
  1. Arcane is the undisputed top mage raiding spec.
  2. If you are a mage, and you are raiding as anything other than arcane, you are hurting your raid and limiting your own effectiveness.
  3. Frost is a PVP spec, and hasn't been a viable raid spec since the days when Ragnaros lived in Molten Core and didn't have legs.
All of those statements contain elements of truth, but I am here to tell you -- as emphatically as I can -- that they are lies. They are gross generalities that rise from popular perception, and I firmly believe that our almost universal acceptance of them as fact hurts the game as a whole.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: News and notes from the patch 4.3 PTR

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week we come bearing information from the patch 4.3 PTR. Many warlocks died to bring you this information. Well, many warlocks died; bringing you this information had very little to do with that.

Coming soon.

Those words have mocked me for what feels like forever but in reality was only a couple weeks. When the initial patch notes were released for the patch 4.3 PTR, other classes got changes. Other classes had new things to discuss, new topics to broach on the official forums and then engage in rational, polite discourse about. But not mages. Under our section of the patch notes, we got those two hateful words, Blizzard's dubious trademark phrase.

Coming soon.

But no more! We can cease our waiting, our trembling, anxious vigil. For the latest build of the PTR has delivered to us a handful of discussion-worthy changes. Let's all release our collective bated breath and move forward as a class. Because, my fellow mages: Soon, apparently, is now.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Optimizing your mage's gear through Rawr

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're talking about what is arguably the game's most trusted gear optimization program: Rawr. Also, we're planning to see how many times I need to type the word "rawr" before my spellchecker snaps and murders me through my computer screen.

Close your eyes.

Imagine, if you will, that you have a mage. Ha ha, of course you have a mage. Sometimes I crack myself up. Now imagine that your mage has gear, but that gear is not optimal. Now open your eyes.

Hello, every mage ever.

Yeah, chances are pretty close to 100% that no matter who you are and how religiously you play the game, your mage, beloved though he may be, does not have every slot filled with best-in-slot gear and does not have every item perfectly gemmed, enchanted and reforged so that your DPS is up to its fullest possible potential. WoW is a computer game -- an old one, sure, but still home to millions of algorithms and formulas and computations and other math terms that I don't fully understand. It would take, I firmly believe, a robot from the future to calculate all of those numbers and variables and turn them into something a human brain can parse accurately enough to actually benefit from.

Well, mages and magesses, I have recently contacted Kavan, one of the main authors of the ubiquitous gear optimization program Rawr, and I can tell you that he is that robot from the future. I only pray he can protect us from whatever other, more evil and technologically advanced robot from the future that might at some point follow him through the wormhole with a directive to kill our unborn children or something, because you know that's what's happening.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Time to talk about the mage tier 13 set bonuses

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we take a look at the newly announced and quickly revised mage tier 13 set bonuses. I've provided a picture of the tier 13 helm above. Also, I am a liar.

So yeah, that isn't really the mage tier 13 helm at all. No matter how desperately I want it to be.

Still, any clothing that makes me look like a time chicken wizard is welcome. But we've spent enough time in past columns discussing the appearance of our tier 13 set. It's high time we started the conversation about the actual set bonuses this gear will provide. And what a conversation it will be ...

Mage tier 13 set bonuses:
  • Two-piece bonus Your Arcane Blast has a 100% chance, and your Fireball and Frostbolt spells have a 50% chance, to grant Stolen Time, increasing your haste rating by 50 for 30 seconds and stacking up to 10 times. When Arcane Power, Combustion, or Icy Veins expires, all stacks of Stolen Time are lost.
  • Four-piece bonus Each stack of Stolen Time also reduces the cooldown of Arcane Power by 7 seconds, Combustion by 4 seconds, and Icy Veins by 6 seconds.
All right -- let's discuss, shall we?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: On mage healing and other miscellany

final fanatsy III white mages
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we talk about the concept of mage healing, which in my opinion is like the concept of warlock winning. It simply isn't a phenomena that occurs in nature.

Since those heady, halcyon days of 2004, when mages began to walk to wilds of Azeroth and players were introduced to their glass cannon awesomeness, the topic of mage healing has from time to time emerged, poking its strange and intriguing head up into the mage conversation and usually disappearing just as quickly. The idea has precedence. Healers in Final Fantasy lore are called White Mages. More recently, Dragon Age has its Spirit Mages. Archetypal wizards have had access to magical healing in one form or another throughout fantasy gaming and literature, though rarely is it their strongest focus.

And just lately, the idea has been gaining some unprecedented traction among the WoW mage community. Recently, I've seen the concept presented with consideration and clarity on the official forums, among my own contemporaries in-game, and even right here in the comments section of this very column. It bears thinking about. Though the idea is extremely unlikely to ever be implemented, its increasing popularity and the improving practicality with which its proponents conceptualize it warrant attention. Mage healing, whenever it is brought up, is immediately interesting and always at least a little bit tantalizing, even for its most vehement opponents.

Like me.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Mage wishlist, late 2011 edition

mage tier 13 set
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. And by "every week," I of course mean "every week when I'm home, have access to the internet, and do not find my time entirely monopolized by my day job." Which, as you may or may not have noticed, did not include last week.

We have some things to discuss today, most notably the recently posted mage class feedback thread on the official forums. It's always interesting to see how mages respond when given an actual, legitimate forum to air their grievances with the promise of actually being heard by the developers in charge of designing our class. I have some thoughts, and if you'll indulge me, I'd like to share them with you.

But let me get this out of the way first and foremost: I love the tier 13 mage set. That's it up there in the picture. So steampunk, but in a good way. I love the goggles, the quilted armor, the gnomishness of it. I can tell you right now that I'll be transmogrifying back to this set for many tiers to come.

If you haven't checked it out yet, I suggest you visit the official site and take a look at that mage tier 13 preview and visual retrospective. It's really kind of cool to see all of our past tier sets in one place, though I have to feel bad for the poor lone Undead mage in his tier 9 gear, surrounded by all of those Humans. I can feel the racial tension from here.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Blizzard reveals mage tier 13 raid gear

Blizzard has been on a spree of patch 4.3 raid information recently, first showcasing the new warrior tier 13 Colossal Dragonplate Deathwing-inspired armor as well as the warlock tier 13 General Vezax/Faceless Ones-inspired set called the Faceless Shroud. Druids and shaman also got to see their new gear. Mages are next up for a tier 13 sneak peek as well as a retrospective on the previous tier sets to showcase all the past mage regalia for transmogrification when the patch hits.

This new set, Timelord Regalia, looks absolutely awesome, with crazy explorer goggles and a nice color scheme. Mage tier sets have always been pretty cool, in my opinion, but this takes the cake. I love the goggles. Cataclysm armor design has been top-notch throughout, and this final raid's epic sets really bring home the weight of our actions at the end of the expansion.


Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Look at what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: Mage, Blizzard, Cataclysm

Arcane Brilliance: The threat hotfix and you

Jim from Threat Level Midnight
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're applying a hotfix to Arcane Brilliance. Beginning now, any warlock who reads Arcane Brilliance will be overcome by intense feelings of self-loathing and an irresistible urge to reroll a mage. The column's actually been functioning this way for some time now, and we thought we ought to just make it official.

I figure it's about time we discussed the threat hotfix, mages. And before we go any further, I should point out that from now on, the threat level is always midnight. The hotfix has been in the game for a few weeks now, and I would have brought it up long before now but I got kinda sidetracked daydreaming about the whole transmogrification thing. Now that I've spent a few weeks going through all of the pretty dresses in my wardrobe and deciding which one I want to wear on my next date with Ragnaros (he's a passable conversationalist, a snappy dresser, and the dates are so much more fun now that he's bipedal ... but he tends to shout a lot, and he's a lousy tipper), I'm ready to talk about what amounts to the complete removal of one of the most basic MMO battle mechanics from the game.

Now, removal isn't the right word, I know. Threat is still technically in the game, but it no longer really matters much.

It's been sort of difficult to wrap my mind around, to be honest. It's as if I woke up one morning and discovered that I no longer needed to wear pants. For so long, pants (or a reasonable pants equivalent) were pretty much a requirement when leaving the house, but now, pantslessness is considered the style. Do I still have pants in my closet? Sure, but I only keep them in there to hide my porn beneath.

So how does this new status quo impact us as a class? And is the change good, bad, or does it lie somewhere along the spectrum between those two extremes?

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Old mage armor sets and how to get them, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we talk more about transmogrification, that oh-so-exciting upcoming feature in patch 4.3 that allows us to make our sweet tier 17 sets look like greens we got while questing in 2004. The aught-fours are so in right now!

Last week, we started our epic journey into old content to find some sweet retro threads for our totally trendy mages to wear at all the hottest mage events of the season, be they spellstealing soirées, Polymorph parties or warlock-wienie-roasts. This week, we delve into slightly more recent content.

Before we begin, we should point out a few important transmogrification details we've learned since we convened last week.
  • Apparently only items with stats are candidates for transmogrification -- and by stats, I mean "other than armor." That rules out most cosmetic items. So no running around wielding a fish in each hand while raiding, I guess. Unless you can find a pair of fishes with stats on them, I guess.
  • Weapons and off-hand items can only be transmogrified into similarly slotted items. That means no running around with two staves or dual-wielding daggers or perhaps a lantern in each hand. I don't know what you people are into ...
  • Heirlooms are eligible, so good news for you speed levelers. Now you're not stuck for 80 levels with a single armor model.
  • The gold cost isn't set but will probably be similar to reforging, meaning it will scale, being more expensive the higher the level of your equipped item happens to be -- so maybe not as much of a massive gold sink as I originally feared.
  • No legendary items, which I sincerely hope changes at some point. I feel like if you earned a freaking legendary item, you should be able to keep that model on your upgraded gear if you want. Forever.
  • All of this is still entirely subject to change.
And with that out of the way, on to some more of the armor sets you and I should both be hunting down and squirreling away right this very second.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Old mage armor sets and how to get them, part 1

female mage blizzard official art
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we're talking about the stuff I now pledge to spend all my waking moments and most of my sleeping ones farming outdated content to obtain: old mage armor.

So what's this I hear about some newfangled patchamajigger? Transmogrifica-hoochawhatsit? Whachama-void storage? You kids and your crazy doodads and gizmos.

There's a buttload of info being released about patch 4.3, but the following literally leaped from the web page as I was reading it, plunged through my widening eye sockets and jacked directly into the pleasure centers of my brain:
  • Patch 4.3 will be bringing us at least two massively important customization options.
  • We will be able to replace the look of our current gear with the look of any other mage gear we possess.
  • We will also have new storage space in which to store all of that gear.
There are more details, and you should go read about them if you haven't already. But what we really need to discuss here is how we can best start doing what I'm positive we all desperately want to be doing right this very second: hunting for sweet-looking gear sets. I don't know about you, but I am going to transmogrify every single bit of my tier 12 set the very instant it is possible for me to do so. I will log out on patch night in front of the spot where the transmogrifier guy is going to spawn; then when the servers come back up, I will log in and shove my gold in his pockets as forcefully as I can, so that I don't have to look like a stupid mage candle any longer than absolutely necessary.

But the questions I'm asking myself between that magical moment and this one are these: Which gear set do I want to replace it with, and what can I do right this moment to get that gear set in my inventory and ready to deploy the moment such a deployment becomes possible? Click through to see me attempt to answer my own questions.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: Addons your mage should probably be using

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, we'll be talking about ways we can make something that is already awesome (being a mage) even better. It's like when you take heaping bowl of Joss Whedon and add in a liberal sprinkling of Nathan Fillion. Yummy.

I know, I know. We already get to fling massive, flaming boulders at warlock faces. Also, we wiggle our fingers and delicious cake spontaneously appears. Being a mage is already as close to nirvana as mortals can hope to aspire to. How can that experience be improved?

The answer is simple: more warlock-killing. And more cake! Also?

Addons.

They come in all shapes and sizes, and your particular load-out may differ greatly from those of other mages you know. I'm not here to tell you you're wrong. I am here, though, to spotlight a few of those addons that have improved my experience the most of late. Join me, won't you? I promise both brevity and wit. Mostly brevity. Cake and warlocks are available in the foyer. Only one is edible, but both are cooked to perfection.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

Arcane Brilliance: The state of the frost mage

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Arcane Brilliance for arcane, fire and frost mages. This week, though, we're all about frost mages. In case you aren't one, frost mages are the spec to be when fighting anything in Molten Core in 2005.

Just kidding. I kid because I love, guys. If the joke hits a little too close to home, though, it's because there's a very real, very prevalent, very false perception out there. It goes something like this:

Frost is for PVP. It isn't viable for raiding.

This sentiment has been around at various levels of general acceptance since patch 1.1, and even in the most enlightened corners of Azeroth, you'll still find those willing to perpetuate it. But then again, you'll also find people still willing to perpetuate things like racism and gender bias, so I guess ignorance, like a weed or a cockroach or a warlock, is remarkably resilient.

At any rate, in today's State of the Frost Mage address, you'll no doubt discover a recurring theme. That theme is this:

Frost is absolutely, positively viable.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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